Local business leader spends birthday cooking meals for those in need
SARATOGA SPRINGS >> One local small business owner celebrated her birthday over the weekend in a unique and charitable way, in the spirit of the season.
Blake Lowe, owner of Fresh & Co. Salon and Spa on Lake Avenue in downtown Saratoga Springs, had a birthday party with her friends and family on Sunday at another local Spa City business, Serendipity Arts Studio located in the Congress Plaza.
She and her loved ones participated in a cooking class, making traditional turkey dinners under the leadership of owner Patrice Mastrianni.
But what made the birthday party truly special was that the hearty meals they cooked were meant to be enjoyed by those in need for the holidays.
Lowe’s wish for her birthday was for her friends to get together and cook food for others in need, particularly families with children. Lowe is a mom with her second child on the way.
The food made on Sunday by Lowe and her friends was to be donated to Franklin Community Center the next morning. The local center, located at 10 Franklin St. in Saratoga Springs, is a non-profit human service agency that offers advocacy, basic necessities and services in an effort to promote healthy lifestyles and positive changes. Through programs such as the food pantry, Project Lift, and the holiday assistance program, Franklin Community Center has been empowering individuals in the area for more than three decades.
Project Lift, to which the turkey dinners were donated, is a free after-school prevention program for local youth. This program operates weekly in Greenfield, Caroline Street, Geyser Road and Dorothy Nolan elementary schools.
In addition to the time spent at the after-school program, children and their families also have access to Franklin Community Center’s ancillary services, as needed, including referral and advocacy, free clothing and food, summer camp scholarships, school supplies and holiday assistance.
From the food Lowe and her party made on Sunday, their donation will feed six families whose children are involved in Project Lift. Each holiday dinner package included turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, butternut squash, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cookies and rice crispy treats.
When Lowe was a kid, her parents would take her to downtown Los Angeles to feed to the homeless around the holidays. “I just felt like as I’ve gotten older, something has been missing; and this is what I want to do for the holiday season,” Lowe said Saturday while carving a turkey at the party.
Lowe happened to be talking to the right person, Mastrianni, about this idea to do something charitable around the holidays.
“Our ideas have come together and it works to do it at her wonderful space with my lovely family and friends, the ones I cherish most,” Lowe said.
Now that she’s got the ball rolling, she hopes to do this again each year, a few times a year.
Next time, she hopes to pass the lesson on by bringing her son, who is now almost two, so that he understands early on the importance of giving back.
“We have a very giving family,” Lowe said, “and a lot of giving friends.”
In the past, Lowe and her business have given back in the form of beauty, donating hair services.
Mastrianni was happy to offer her space, a large commercial kitchen that’s health code approved, for Lowe and her loved ones to make the meals.”It’s been fun,” she said, leading the others in the cooking. “This is just a great spot.”
Mastrianni hopes to do more similar events at Serendipity Arts Studio, an art and culinary studio that opened in August, in the future.
“I think it’s an incredible idea. I think everybody should be doing it,” said Lowe’s grandmother Phyllis Latin, who attended the party. “Those of us that are blessed should pay it forward – and it’s fun to be with family and friends doing something for someone else.”
For more information on Serendipity Arts Studio, located at 26D Congress St. in Congress Plaza, visit www.serendipityartsstudio.com or call 518-886-9553.
For more information on Franklin Community Center, its services and how to donate visit www.franklincommunitycenter.org or call 518-587-9826.
By Lauren Halligan
POSTED: 12/20/15, 4:36 PM EST
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